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I do not even dream of becoming the PM: Nitish

December 17, 2012 22:36 IST

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday endorsed Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravishankar Prasad's view that the nominee for the prime minister's post should be from the major party within National Democratic Alliance.

"I myself have been saying the same thing for a long time. Ravishankar Prasad has said the same thing," Kumar told reporters when asked to comment on the Rajya Sabha leader's statement on the candidate for the PM post.

Kumar, under whose leadership NDA won 33 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and confined the Rashtriya Janata Dal to merely four seats in the last general elections, said he had been repeatedly saying that the "PM candidate should be from the largest party of the alliance."

The chief minister said he was happy working for the people of Bihar and did not dream of becoming the PM.

When told that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, considered a strong contender for the PM's post from NDA, also said that he was happy working for his state, Kumar refused to comment.

He disagreed with the comments of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit that Rs 600, to be given under a cash subsidy transfer scheme, were sufficient to feed five members of a family for a month.

"It is impossible to feed five members of a family with Rs 600 a month -- it will come down to Rs 4 per person daily," he said.

He backed the cash transfer scheme but said the scheme claimed by the UPA as the "game-changer" in 2014 polls would succeed only when beneficiaries were correctly identified by constituting an independent BPL Commission.

Asked to comment on Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's view that the cash subsidy would help the UPA government in the 2014 general elections, Kumar said only time would prove if that was the case.

Kumar pointed out major gaps in the Centre's count of BPL beneficiaries in Bihar and elsewhere which was a major hurdle in the implementation of the subsidised foodgrains scheme through the Public Distribution System.

"In Bihar, while the Centre provides subsidised foodgrains for about 72 lakh BPL beneficiaries, the actual count as conducted by the state government by adopting the central criterion comes to 1.40 crore," he said to drive home his point.

Picking holes in the cash subsidy scheme, Kumar said it recommended purchase of uniform for school children through a committee, which would be a major problem in Bihar as the state government was successfully providing direct cash for the purpose.

"I have pointed it out to the PM and shall raise it prominently in the forthcoming meeting of the National Development Council," he said.

He took exception to Commerce Minister Anand Sharma ruling out the granting of special category status to Bihar and said he had written to the prime minister directly contesting the argument of the Inter-Ministerial Group constituted by him on the issue.

"I have not put this demand before the industries minister so what he says does not make much difference," he said.

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